Published: 15/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5888 Page 6

The British Heart Foundation and the Consumer's Association have warned against joint policy on obesity nutrition being issued by both the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency.

Last week, Consumers' Association principal policy adviser Sue Davies told a Commons health select committee evidence session into obesity that in setting policy on tackling obesity and nutrition, the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency were too often working separately.

'We would like to see one very strong department, which we think should be the Food Standards Agency [working on policy to tackle obesity], ' said Ms Davies.

Dr Mike Rayner, director of the British Heart Foundation's health promotion research group, told the committee that public health minister Melanie Johnson had said the government would adopt a tougher stance with the food industry if it did not introduce stronger voluntary codes of practice. But he could not see how this would happen in practice.